by Doug Smith
Cleburne Circuit Judge John Dan Kemp has denied state Rep. Josh Johnston’s petition to expunge the record of Johnston’s 1995 conviction on a hot-check charge. The ruling leaves a cloud over Johnston’s political future.
Johnston, a Republican from Rosebud, wants to run for sheriff rather than for re-election to the House. His House term will expire at the end of the year. His 1995 misdemeanor conviction became widely known only recently. The state Constitution says people who’ve been convicted of “infamous” crimes can’t hold office. The law has been interpreted to include misdemeanors.
Judge Kemp held a hearing this week, then ruled that the statute under which Johnston was convicted did not provide for expunction of the record.
Johnston did not respond to efforts to reach him and ask what effect the court ruling would have on his political plans.